TREES: Time's right to replace
As Mr Dewar correctly points out in his letter about Eglingham (Northumberland Gazette, September 7), lime trees in English woodlands have been prized for their beauty.
Unfortunately, this is not true of the species which was widely planted on road verges.
According to Alan Mitchell, author of A Field Guide to the Trees of Britain, the common lime is “abundant, especially in streets, for which it must be the least suitable tree of any”.
Another expert, Hugh Johnson, says it is “one of the few trees whose vices outweigh its virtues”.
This is the situation in our village.
The now mature trees on the narrow lane approaching the church were planted so close together and in only a narrow space between two adjacent buildings (one of which is listed), they soon outgrew their site.
For almost 45 years the county council has intervened to protect the neighbouring properties and limit encroachment onto the highway by removing dead and overhanging branches.
In 1999, the trees’ height was reduced by more than a third. This pollarding resulted in a mass of reactive growth and unsightly whiskery knobs on the trunks.
All of this surgery has left the trees looking very unattractive and they are now very poor specimens, casting a dense shade and making a dark and dismal approach for visitors to the church.
They are certainly not the splendid specimens described by Mr Dewar in his letter.
As they age, these limes will continue to suffer from die-back and are more likely to be exposed to disease, increasing the potential dangers.
The consensus of those living in this area of the village is that the trees are unsightly and that it is the right time to replace them with attractive trees more suited to this location.
No decision has yet been reached on the future of these trees and discussions and consultations are ongoing.